Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Cameron fast-tracks voting equality for Scotland and Wales

This blog wholly and unequivocally supports, without any reservation, full voting equality for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. That is to say, full voting equality with England. We are one United Kingdom, and each Parliamentary constituency should be made up of the same number of eligible voters. The reality is that the Western Isles with 22,000 voters return a single MP as does the Isle of Wight with 108,000 voters and that this stinks.

Cameron's announcement today that a fast-track boundary review to be completed within a year will be presented to Parliament together with the referendum proposals on the AV vote system in May 2011 is welcomed, though it will cause agony to the comrades. Finally our government is bringing fairness to our electoral system - though not the sort of 'fairness' that Brown bleated about, which was rather the entrenchment of discrimination.

The Electoral Quota, the number of
registered electors per constituency that should define the boundaries of each seat, is currently around 69,000 - 45m registered electors and 650 Constituencies. In Australia, this is not allowed to vary by more than +/- 3.5%, and in New Zealand it's 5%. If 5% were applied to the UK, all seats with fewer than 65,550 electors or more than 72,450 would be re-drawn. In %age terms, the UK is off the scale of international democracy.

Many of those seats with fewer than 65,550 voters are held by Labour. Many of those with more than 72,450 are Conservative. So the comrades will howl at losing their unfair advantage.

Increasing the Electoral Quota (EQ) to 78,000 across the Union - and there are real suggestions that this is what Cameron intends to do - will also reduce the number of Parliamentary seats from 650 to 577. New seats, if the New Zealand 5% limit is adopted, will have between 74,100 and 81,900 registered voters.

Scotland's current EQ is 54,728, giving them 71 MPs. If a national EQ of 78,000 were applied, that would reduce to 50. Wales has an EQ of 55,640, giving them 40 MPs. This would reduce to 29.

Labour say that this is unfair because their supporters are less likely to register. Duh? From the rampant electoral fraud that has recently emerged, it seems more likely that Labour voters actually register religiously - and several times, too.

OK, as a Localist you might expect me to oppose any reduction of local representation. Not the case. Since I also believe that Parliament should confine itself to national issues that cannot be devolved, including defence, international treaties, air traffic control, the justice system and a few others, I also believe the need is not for more MPs at Westminster but much greater local democratic representation and much greater local power.

The only fly in the ointment is the no-doubt LibDem initiative in the air for State funding of the parties - and this I will go to the barricades to fight. As for the rest, bring it on!


Blue Eyes said...

Spot on. The LDs seem quite keen on localism so hopefully this will happen quite quickly. I have to say I could accept AV as a way of electing constituency MPs. The constituency link must not be broken and I don't think AV will make a difference in other than a handful of constituencies. London's Mayor is elected on an AV basis and it was clear at all three elections that the second preference votes made no difference to the outcome.

People will adjust their votes according to the result they want. AV also has the advantage that people can take a chance on new and small parties while having the luxury of falling back on a mainstream candidate.

State funding of parties should be cut to zero. It's one thing paying MPs a salary, quite another to be paying for researchers, leaflets, battle buses and the rest.

Petr said...

Yes. Good news indeed. Margaret Becket's comments (to be followed, no doubt, by others in similar vein from her colleagues) insult voters' intelligence.

simon said...

Well said.

That idiot Balls was on Newsnight making that point about Labour supporters with a straight face and he didn't even get picked up by the presenters. Its going to be great fun watching them push this line in parliament.

Curmudgeon said...

And it's laughable to hear Margaret Beckett describe it as gerrymandering when the current system is so blatantly loaded in Labour's favour.

Anonymous said...

As a Scot, I have absolutely no objection to the redrawing of boundaries.

In fact, I'd go further: I positively welcome the idea of taking a chainsaw to the ridiculous boundaries of Labour strongholds in the West of Scotland where The Party has gerrymandered along bitterly sectarian and racial lines.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"...Labour voters actually register religiously..."

Uh, which religion did you have in mind?

btw I think singling out the Western Isles is a bit unfair. This is a community which is remote, different, isolated, and arguably has special needs and priorities. I'd be happy to see it remain as a separate parliamentary constituency despite its small electorate; bundles in with any nearby mainland area it would have no voice in affairs, which would be wrong.

I don't think the same applies to the Isle of Wight.

Robert said...

Yes there should be a reduction in the proportion of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs. After all they already have their own assemblies. There should also be a drop in the number of English MPs.

Parliament as a whole is not doing the job it was set up to do, however, because of the malign influence of the EU. As the bulk of our legislation now comes from Brussels which our 'lawmakers' cannot touch, they have nothing to do other than interfere in local government. We have far too many politicians already in this country with their noses in the public trough doing nothing constructive. The EU has also set up the Regional Assemblies and we have MP Ministers for these regions.

There is also the problem of English money propping up failed states.